June 2007

One of the resident canines, Ace, is up to one of his favourite tricks: janking labels and tags out of pots! Here he is just having absconded with a label, trying to slink away from his buddy Neka, who realizes he has something choice and is not willing to share!

With Ace it's either labels or plants. And let's not forget tubers? See that little clump of LED grass in the black square container just to his left, after he was done with the label episode guess what he went after next?

About a week ago he had helped himself to a freshly planted Paeonie tuber that was starting to show some growth, hope it survives the ordeal.

Let's also remember we're looking at those giant black and tan slugs who LOVE eating Hosta leaves!

Just look at what those DARLINGS did to a couple of our Hosta 'Striptease' leaves! And these aren't the only examples!

Last year we were well into flower, and scent, with our honeysuckle. Different story this year. We have observed a number of plants that are behind with their growth and this is another one. With the honeysuckle blooms come the hummingbirds and Waita had one come visit the very first day some of these flowers were open and there couldn't have been many of them at that point. I remember last year we had a couple of them visit at the same time and there was a lot of dispute over territory between them.

5 days later and we have a virtual wall of flowers. With this almost curtain-like mass of bloom comes that magnificent scent these flowers are famous for. A week later the scent was so strong in the evening that you could smell them in the frontyard when you got out of the car, yet no so strong as to be totally overpowering and taking your breath away. It would be gone if that were the case.

June of course is also the beginning of the cavalcade of lilies. In years gone by we have typically seen 'Lollypop' as the very first one to open up, most often in the last week of May, but this year they seem slower and the honour of being the first to bloom this year goes to 'Peach Pixie'.

We'd been talking for some time about getting some rainbarrels to get some free, better water for watering our plants over the summer months. We had seen some at Lee Valley Tools a couple of years ago and went back there to see what they might still have -there was no info in their catalogues- and after a nice long conversation with our pal Kathy we felt it would be a good idea to check with our municipal yard in Richmond. And I'm glad we did.

As you can see we now have 2 rain barrels installed -actually they are recycled plastic food drums- and because the city subsidizes this rainbarrel effort it was a pretty inexpensive exercise. $56 for the diverter, the 2 barrels, the spigots and overflow connectors and we were in business! The only extra expense was the building blocks to help raise them and allow us to easily put a watering can under the spigot, and the plywood was some scrap piece that had been kicking around for too long anyway. It's a pretty straight forward installation. The 2 barrels are connected so that when the 1st one is close to the top it just overflows into the 2nd one and I must admit I was absolutely flabbergasted at how quickly the barrel filled up! The removable top on the main barrel allows for a quick dunk of a watering can without having to go the slow spigot way...

The observant will have noticed the 2nd barrel has a closed top and it is not tapered top and bottom. Standing as tall as the 1st one, it holds a bit more water: 50 gallons versus 45 for the one with the lid.

Seeing as this page is likely to get visitors from all around the world, in particular North America, I'm sure quite a few will wonder where you might be able to purchase the 'Watersaver' diverter you see in this picture. Well, it's a product developed right here in Richmond, B.C. and you can obtain one via mailorder. Simply go to: Gardenwatersaver.com

June 19th I took the bull by the horn and divided off a 3-year old 'Hyacinthina' sport, four shoots in all. Here it is freshly potted up, but by day's end the leaves had all started to hang their head. The rootball wasn't quite as large as you would expect from a regular potted-up 3-year old and with that loss of water uptake I'll have to make sure to keep it well watered and out of direct sun. I'm quite prepared to have these leaves pretty much all gone in a couple of months, but there should be plenty of new growth at that point and I'm really looking forward to what next year will bring from this sporting division.